Secularism bill a 'sexist' attack on women's bodies: Quebec federation of women

The president of a major feminist organization says Quebec's secularism bill is sexist and a direct attack on women's bodies.

Gabrielle Bouchard of Federation des femmes du Quebec told the committee studying the bill today the legislation is particularly discriminatory to Muslim women who wear the hijab.

Quebec's Bill 21 would prohibit public servants in positions of authority, including primary and secondary school teachers, police officers, Crown prosecutors and prison guards, from wearing religious symbols on the job.

Bouchard admits her federation once supported legislation prohibiting public sector workers such as police officers and judges from wearing religious symbols at work. But she says the feminist federation changed its position after recognizing the harm such a law would do to Muslim women.

The Federation des femmes du Quebec reflects the progressive strain of feminism in the province and stands in direct contrast to another women's group that appeared in front of the committee last week.

The feminist group Pour les droits des femmes du Quebec told the committee studying the bill that the legislation should go further and apply to daycare workers.